When I first met Mark Baker on the fortunate referral from friends, I felt like I had hit bottom and was ready to seriously consider medications for depression. I was irritable and detached – horrid feelings for a mother of four. I was scared to death that my emotions and mood were affecting my kids.
My husband and I have one biological child and three by adoption, siblings who joined our family at the same time – all age 3 and under. I was a bit overwhelmed in the beginning, but felt like I dealt with things pretty well for the first couple of years.
But over time, typical preschooler behaviors (multiplied by three) began to wear me down. Added to that was my recovery from a surgery, the loss of a dear family member, and my return to work part-time after two years away. I began to feel seriously overwhelmed and depressed. I have had bouts of situational depression for various reasons on and off throughout my life, but this was the first time that I felt like I couldn’t get out of the depression on my own. This was the first time I had felt so irritable and detached.
I love my kids. I would do anything for them to care for them, protect them, and make their lives better. But to be brutally honest, I had reached a point where I just didn’t like them very much and didn’t even want to be around them.
I felt so incredibly guilty. A bigger family is what we wanted. This is what we chose. I should have been happy. I should have been enjoying every moment. Kids grow up so fast. I knew that we had been blessed with them.
Motherhood is supposed to be the most natural thing in the world, and yet I felt I was so lousy at it, in contrast to my husband, a wonderful father, who still seems to have the intuition I often don’t.
Yes, most people don’t add three children to their family at the same time. And no, we didn’t initially go into the adoption process expecting to bring home three at once. The story of our adoption process is a long one, but the short story is that after a lot of prayerful consideration, we felt it was God’s will to bring these particular kiddos home.
So, when I hit the wall, I had started to question whether we had misinterpreted His will, and maybe another family should have been chosen for our kids instead. Maybe there was a reason for all my miscarriages. Maybe I was only meant to have one child. These doubts, questions, overwhelming sadness, and guilt led me to pursue a counselor.
I was skeptical of secular counseling after watching family members go through it for years without improvement. I had read many parenting books and received a lot of advice from various people, but continued to be overwhelmed and frustrated by my apparently worsening ability to tolerate a lot of my kids’ behaviors.
Friends suggested I talk to Mark. To be perfectly honest, I was skeptical that he would be able to help me either. I felt like my faith was strong and I had already found some Biblical passages I was trying to prayerfully lean on. And I really thought I was going to have to resort to medications to get myself straightened out.
How wrong I was. Mark pinpointed my perfectionism and high expectations of myself and others right off the bat. He helped me to see how becoming more like Mary and less like Martha in that timeless Bible story demonstrates faithfulness. He helped me get my priorities right, using God’s Word and principles instead of a secular worldview. He helped me realize who is truly in control (and it’s not me!). Finally, Mark helped me see that true contentment lies in my perspective, my priorities, and my source of power.
I am still very much a work in progress, but the Godly principles and Scriptures that Mark pointed me to and helped me understand continue to guide me and give me strength and renewed purpose, even on the darker days, and all without having to go on medication.
It really is all there–in the Bible–the perfect guidance for life. I am forever grateful to Mark for helping me see that more clearly and for his specific help with my particular difficulties.